Americans Shall Rule America
Pen and ink on paper political cartoon of "Americans Shall Rule America", c. 1856-1860, by an unknown artist. In the 1850s, and lead up to the Civil War (1861-1865), a nativist political movement, aggressive towards new immigrants and African Americans, emerged under the "Know-Nothing" or "American" political party. In 1856, Thomas Swann (1809-1883), a former Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad president and investor, ran for Mayor of the City of Baltimore on this platform, and won. The election of 1856, and subsequent campaigns in 1857-1859, were fraught with voter intimidation, voter fraud, and manipulation, as well as violence between competing mobs, political gangs, and the Maryland National Guard. Swann left the party and the office of the mayor in 1860. He later went on to serve as a Governor of Maryland (1866-1869) and the U.S. House of Representatives (1869-1879), including periods as a democrat and republican.